Because I'm an architect as well as a writer, my next book is going to be the Story of Buildings.

I want to start by explaining why people put up buildings in the first place. Then I want readers to imagine how they would build a house if they could only use the materials around them – wood if they lived in a forest, stone if they lived on a mountain, or mud if they lived near a river – and that was all they had. That's how the first buildings were made.

Then I'll look at how things have changed as we've got richer and invented new materials like concrete and steel. I want to tell the stories of cities as well, how they've grown and how they've changed the way we live. In the second half of the book I'll tell the story of my favourite buildings, like Notre Dame, the great cathedral in Paris, and The Chrysler Building in New York.

For the Story of Buildings, I'm working with an unbelievable artist called Stephen Biesty. Stephen has a way of drawing things so you see them both from the outside and the inside at the same time. He's done that for lots of books before.

Exploded view of the Temple of Amun-Ra, Karnak in 1230 BC. First appeared in 'Egypt in spectacular cross-section' published by Oxford University Press. © Copyright Stephen Biesty 2005.